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Kayaking with Killer Whales from an Oceanfront Basecamp

| CA-EC002

Robson Bight Orca Viewing Kayak Tour on Northern Vancouver Island


Experience the ultimate sea kayaking adventure by launching off a pristine beach basecamp on Northern Vancouver Island to kayak with the magnificent whales of Johnstone Strait.


  • Visit Vancouver Island
  • Paddle Johnstone Strait
  • See Killer & Humpback Whales
  • Glamp in Oceanfront basecamp
  • Visit Robson Bight Ecological Reserve
  • See dolphins and sea lions


Nestled in the heart of Orca territory, your luxury campsite is adjacent to the world's only designated Killer Whale habitat at Robson Bight (Michael Bigg) Ecological Reserve. The raw, rocky shores and the vast blue crescent engulfing this pure Canadian coastal wilderness offer a unique opportunity for you to connect with nature.  The permanent base camp provides the comforts of home, but is completely off-grid allowing you to unplug and reconnect with nature in one of the best places for whale watching anywhere on Vancouver Island.  The major advantage of the base camp is you don’t have to break camp and load gear everyday too, giving you more time to explore the shorelines and paddle searching for Orcas.  This non-expedition type tour is perfect for families and suitable for beginner kayakers.

  • Personal Experience
  • Trusted Tour Operator
  • Local Guides
  • Small group
Availability July - Sept
Duration 4 DAYS
Difficulty Moderate
Minimum age 8 years
Group maximum 12 people
Region Vancouver Island
Meet on Location Yes
Pick Up No


1 020
  • Best Price Guarantee
  • International number: +1 778 348 1676

Availability (2024):
July 13 – September 8
Tours run back-to-back every 4 days

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What's Included

Find out what is included and what to bring.


  • Meals/snacks/beverages
  • Round-trip water taxi transfers to the basecamp
  • 3-hour whale watching boat tour on the last day
  • Double fibreglass sea kayaks
  • Paddles
  • PFD’s (designed for kayaking)
  • Paddling jackets
  • Spray skirts
  • Dry bags
  • Tents
  • Therma-rest mattress, cots
  • Sleeping bags and liners, pillows
  • Kayak booties and gloves

What to bring

  • A complete packing list will be provided at a booking
  • Camera
  • Binoculars
  • Daypack, duffel bag, and large garbage bags
  • Water bottle with strap
  • Sunscreen and lip balm
  • Insect repellent
  • Flashlight or headlamp
  • Toiletry kit
  • Towel and washcloth
  • Clothing suited to a variety of temperatures and weather conditions
  • Rain gear
  • Fleece jacket and windbreaker
  • Wool or fleece hat
  • Sun hat or ball cap
  • Thermal socks
  • Wet shoes for kayaking, such as Tevas or Aqua socks
  • Sturdy quick drying shoes for hiking and around camp

Not Included

  • Transportation from your home city to Telegraph Cove, BC
  • Gratuities
  • Travel Insurance
  • Overnight accommodations before and after your trip

Contact us for more Information about this tour


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Find out more details about the tour and its highlights

Itinerary and What to Expect

Robson Bight Basecamp is a sanctuary where the whims of the weather and the grace of whales determine what unfolds each day. The pace of paddling is tailored to the collective abilities of the group to ensure everyone gets to savor the four to six hours of exploration time. This leisurely jaunt includes ample opportunities to pause for rest and rejuvenation, snacking on treats, and relishing the picturesque view of the beach.

Indulge in a hearty breakfast, relishing the breathtaking views of the secluded bay, as you gear up for a day filled with endless possibilities and adventures. Embark on a thrilling journey to paddle the shoreline, in search of majestic Orcas and Humpbacks and other marine wildlife. Be amazed at the sight of giant freighters and passing cruise ships while rafting up as a group to kayak across the Johnstone Strait. Every day presents a new and exciting kayaking route to explore, with finding whales as the ultimate goal.

Your kayaking basecamp adventure starts early the next morning, so ideally you would spend this night in Telegraph Cove, or in nearby Port McNeill or Port Hardy.

You will meet up with your guides in Telegraph Cove at 9:30 am.  The water taxi departs at 10:00 am for Robson Bight Basecamp. There is parking on site in Telegraph Cove.  Lunch and dinner are included.

If weather conditions allow, we will navigate the Johnstone Strait and proceed towards Blackney Passage, which is renowned for its abundant population of feeding humpback whales. This particular area is characterized by powerful currents, making it an ideal spot to pause for lunch while observing various marine mammals.  Breakfast, lunch and dinner are included.

We will navigate across the Johnstone Strait towards the Qwiquallaaq/ Boat Bay Conservancy. The Boat Bay Conservancy safeguards forested terrain, sheltered bays and inlets, petite islands, and cliffs, which will serve as our domain for the day, should the weather remain favorable. Moreover, we have the opportunity to embark on a hike to the Eagle Eye Research Station, a seasonal monitoring center and hub for Orca whale research.  Breakfast, lunch and dinner are included.

In the morning, there will be an opportunity to embark on a sunrise paddle in your kayak before breakfast. The water taxi will arrive around 11:00 am.  On the way back to Telegraph Cove, we venture toward Blackfish Sound and take a fascinating 3-hour whale watching and sightseeing tour. We will land in Telegraph Cove around 2 pm. Breakfast and lunch are included.

The Johnstone Strait is a wonderland of sights and sounds, and whale watching is the perfect way to experience it. From July to September, you can witness Northern Resident Orcas feasting on salmon in their territorial waters, while Transient Orcas, who prefer other marine life, mingle with them in our coastal waters. With over 300 Killer Whales swimming freely in the Johnstone Strait during the summer months, seeing these majestic creatures in their natural habitat is a true spectacle.

Witnessing orcas in their natural habitat is a truly privileged and exhilarating experience that will stay with you for a lifetime. Imagine perching atop an ocean kayak, just inches from the water's surface, and observing these magnificent animals as they emerge and retreat, their dorsal fins slicing through the waves. It's a breathtaking reminder of just how incredible the natural world can be.

As much as we all crave a closer encounter with these mighty creatures, guests' and the whales' safety is always your guide’s top priority. That's why your guides adhere to the Cetus Society's whale watching guidelines, which require all vessels and sightseers to maintain a 200-metre distance from the animals. While Orca sightings remain unpredictable, we let them approach us when they choose to do so - producing those once-in-a-lifetime moments that will always be treasured!

A majestic rainforest of towering cedars and mighty firs envelopes the rugged and rocky shoreline of the basecamp in Johnstone Strait. The sleeping tents are nestled into private little nooks, artfully scattered throughout the sprawling forest, presenting a breathtaking view of the beach and the bay beyond. There's nothing quite as tranquil as waking up in your tent to the melodious chirping of songbirds and basking in the mossy and earthy scent of the surrounding wilderness after a day of exhilarating kayaking with the magnificent whales. Fall asleep to the hypnotic and soothing sound of leaping salmon in the dead of the night in complete and absolute darkness, cocooned by the verdant canopy of this majestic forest.

The stable wooden platforms upon which each tent is built securely, come cushioned with tent pads, sleekly waterproofed, and generously sized to accommodate even single guests in utmost style and luxury. Couples, meanwhile, can choose a commodious tent for four, effortlessly spreading out as they look out to the breathtaking shoreline. The nights can get chilly, but don't worry, you won't even feel the nip of the night thanks to warm and snug sleeping bags.

The camp also has showers with on demand hot water, composting toilets, a hot tub, a covered dining and lounge platform with tables, chairs and a sofa, plus camp chairs for relaxing around the campfire.

Your guides are experienced expedition leaders, with designation in SKGABC sea kayaking leadership and are fully certified in advanced wilderness first aid and CPR.  They take your safety very seriously and always consider your personal comfort zone.  Not only are they leaders in their field, but they are also patient teachers and offer a holistic approach towards safety and learning.  They are the most experienced guides in the region, with over 50+ years of navigating the Johnstone Strait. As full-time residents of the region, they possess an unwavering passion for spotting wildlife and sharing their in-depth knowledge of the area with you. You are in good hands.

Payment Details

Deposit and Taxes

  • Pricing does not include: 5.00% GST. 
  • A 50% deposit is required to hold your reservation. 
  • Balance of payment is due 60 days before trip commencement.

Cancellation Policy & Details

  • 60 days or more notice: full refund less $50 admin fee per person.
  • 31-59 days notice: 50% refund (deposit not refunded).
  • 30 days or less: no refunds issued.

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